On Endings – September 2023

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“All good things must come to an end”

You know what they say, and guess what? We need things to end. Most of the time, we dread or avoid endings. They are sad, difficult, unwanted, and force us to face a changed reality. But I believe that we need endings, desperately. They provide us with opportunities for reflection, re-framing, and acceptance.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” We couldn’t agree more. Endings may have a reputation for being a tad, well, melancholic, but it’s in these moments of closure that we discover the true power of beginnings.

In the grand symphony of life, every crescendo eventually finds its last note, every story reaches its final chapter, and every journey concludes with a bittersweet farewell. From the final brushstroke on a canvas to the last line of a love story, endings are like the period at the end of a sentence, making it complete.

So grab your favorite cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s more your cup of tea ;)) and join us as we explore the art of wrapping things up and saying goodbye. Fasten your seatbelts and let our team take you on an emotional journey through the world of endings – where the last word is only the beginning of a new tale!

– Anna Maria Re

What to read:

“If on a winter’s night a traveller” by Italo Calvino (1979)

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“The unsullied pleasure of reading ends, or at least is transformed into something else, which is not what I want”.

No need to shut this out: “If on a winter’s night a traveller”, by Italo Calvino, definitely succeeds in targeting our sense of frustration. No sooner does the protagonist approach the end of his novels than the situation gets out of hand, and he has to pick up a new one.

While focusing on these ten short stories may veer into a chaotic concoction of genres, we’d better go off on a tangent instead, just like the novel does. Is the word “ending” even suitable for a story? What about the imagination it enhances within us? 

The answers to these questions ultimately come down to us, the readers. Calvino seems to spur us on to join the writing process and see the novel play games with us.

Also, it is by trying to sort out the “punctiform and pulviscular material” of his books that the protagonist falls in love with another reader.

Therefore, whether the quest for fulfilment proves to be successful or not, it’s safe to assume we are not alone on this journey.

– Recommended by Giorgio

“Before the coffee gets cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015)

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The story unfolds in a small café in Tokyo where customers have the chance to time travel and revisit moments from their past. However, there are some rules to follow, the most crucial one being: finish your cup of coffee before it gets cold!

The many cafe’s rules highlight the fleeting nature of time and the importance of learning to accept and appreciate the transitory moments in life. After all, sooner or later every- thing will come to an end. If we fail to accept this, we risk remaining trapped in the past…

Many characters visit the café to find closure with their loved ones who have passed away, or to address lingering, unanswered questions.

The author skillfully weaves together multiple storylines, illustrating how one person’s ending can mark the beginning of another’s story. Ultimately, the characters and their stories teach us the significance of preserving memories and how these memories can transcend time and influence the way we perceive endings.

Overall, the book encourages readers to reflect on their own experiences with endings, regrets, and the passage of time. It suggests that while endings are inevitable, they can also hold the potential for positive change, offering room for hope, healing, and transformation.

– Recommended by Anna

WHAT to listen


– Recommended by Constance and Rosa


Annie Hall (1977)

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“Annie hall” led to the revolution of the way romantic comedies are thought of. Indeed, Alvy Singer, the main character, tells us about his reflections on life and love. In particular, he tells us about his relationship with Annie and the way it ended.

The two of them, coming from backgrounds very far from each other, have different aspirations and ideals. Indeed, when Annie enters the cinematic world, Alvy can’t stand the atmosphere: one of the reasons that led to their inevitable separation.

This masterpiece is set in an autumnal New York and the story, despite the tragic ending, is told as a comedy. It will entertain you and make you think about the way love is not always enough.

– Recommended by Francesca

Shrinking (2023)

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Thinking about the reality of life makes me sick. There is something about it that I cannot make peace with – something that doesn’t sound very real. People come, people go, things end. Days end, and so do weeks, months, and years. What’s even more sad is that lives end. Endings do not necessarily need to be disheartening though, things can come to an end in a good way. But the human mind, I presume, never disappoints and always thinks about the worst scenario that is out there.

Starring Jason Segel, Shrinking focuses on bad endings too. Jimmy (Jason Segel), a therapist, loses his wife. The story is about how Jimmy messes up his life and follows his process of getting everything back on track. His ups and downs, mostly downs, clearly depict the struggle one could go through after losing a significant other. The misery is absolute and the pain never leaves his body. Jimmy is not the only one suffering from losing his wife though, he has a daughter.  

Shrinking, with its amazing cast, manages to be painful and funny at the same time. It is good to see Segel back in such a strong dramedy. The show reminds us of the saddening truth of life: that some endings could be utterly depressing. It asks us, constantly: are we coping or are we numbing? And the answer might be a tough pill to swallow.

– Recommended by Egemen


Mario Schifano “Vero Amore Incompleto” (1962)

“It was a special zero where I started from, the most modern of zeros, no resetting at all. It was just zero”

There’s a remarkable awareness revolving around Schifano’s works and statements, which plays havoc with our usual idea of “perfect” (from Latin “accomplished”).

Is this canvas even finished? What might attest to the finishing touches of an artwork like this, neither relatable, nor visually arresting? 

At a closer look, Schifano secretly draws inspiration from the most renowned examples of “Non-finito”. Michelangelo deliberately left some of his sculptures unfinished, hinting at the never-ending fight between the idea and its material garment. Arguably, the artist is here challenging the belief of endings as resolutions, with the colours not blending with each other. 

Nonetheless, the “zero” we get as we pin this work down results in the starting point of a further attempt. And surprisingly enough, that’s exactly what permeates love too, as we are always at a loss to ultimately define our beloved ones. 

In short, everyone is an unfinished business. But that may not necessarily bode ill for us. 

– Recommended by Giorgio


LuYang’s DOKU Experience Center

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From September 14th to October 22nd, 2023, MUDEC is hosting the latest exhibition in the ‘Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year’ series.

The DOKU Experience Center exhibition delves deeply into themes that encompass not only beginnings but also the profound notion of endings and rebirth. At its core is the virtual reincarnation of the artist LuYang – Dokusho Dokushi, or simply DOKU – into a gender-neutral avatar. This hyper-realistic figure, bearing the facial resemblance of the artist, possesses the remarkable ability to transform into various forms: Human, Heaven, Asura, Animal, Hungry Ghost, and Hell. Each of these avatars represents one of the six realms of rebirth in Samsara, symbolizing the eternal cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation.

LuYang, one of the most captivating young contemporary Asian artists, draws inspiration from science fiction, manga, video games, and techno culture, exploring cutting-edge technologies and themes related to post-humanism and transhumanism.

Among the works on display, ‘DOKU the Self’ stands as a groundbreaking narrative film. Originally premiered at the Venice Biennale last year, this film offers a radical visual meditation. Within its breathtaking imagery, viewers bear witness to DOKU’s journey of living and dying in each of these Buddhist worlds. In doing so, DOKU liberates itself from the constraints of the self and the physical body.

Complementing this narrative is the specially conceived music video ‘DOKU the Matrix’ and the new series ‘Bardo #1.’ The latter series presents DOKU in conjunction with their respective attributes, masterfully arranged in round mandala compositions.

The DOKU Experience Center offers an engagement that is as philosophical as it is captivating, occasionally unsettling, and profoundly thought-provoking. This experience challenges conventional concepts such as cultural identity, the body, and gender. Furthermore, it questions our common perception of reality with the intention of pushing beyond and transcending the boundary between the digital and the real, echoing the timeless themes of endings and new beginnings.

– Recommended by Anna

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